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LTO-9 Finally Arriving

One-year late

LTO-9 was expected to ship in Fall 2020, said officially on last February 13 Spectra Logic Corp., specialist of tape libraries, following LTO-8.

This delay seems essentially IBM’s fault as everybody was waiting for the availability of its LTO-9 drive (full-height only up to now, with 8Gb FC or 12Gb SAS interface) finally on the market since last September 10, as the company is now the only manufacturer of LTO drives.

The 2 LTO media makers, FujiFilm an Sony, said that they are now also ready to ship their LTO-9 media (18TB native and 45TB compressed, 400MB/s native and 1Gb/s compressed), available at HPE, IBM and OpenStorage up to now.

IBM announced that the new format is supported by its Spectrum Archive and TS4500 libraries. Quantum did the same for its Scalar robotics and SpectraLogic for its TFinity Tape Library with capacity up to 1EB uncompressed.

According to IBM, tape LTO-9 solutions cost less than 1 cent per gigabyte per month in 1EB library, exactly 0.59 cent/GB, in other words, $5.89/TB. But no precise prices have been announced for the drive and the media, an important factor for users of very high-capacity storage, for comparison with HDD-based systems.

Compared to LTO-8, capacity is increasing by 50% and transfer rate by only 11% meaning up to 3,6TB/h of compressed data. LTO-9 tape drives can read and write LTO-8 cartridges, and, as well as the former version, include multi-layer security support via hardware-based encryption, WORM functionality and LTFS support.

LTO-9 physical specs: BaFe magnetic particles, 5.2mυ thickness, 12.65mm wide, 1,035m length, 8,960 tracks (32 track heads in serpentine format), 545Kb/inch recording density. Archival life supposed to be 30 years and MTBF is announced at 250,000 hours at 100% duty cycle.

Next LTO-10 is supposed to be up to 50TB and 1,100MB/s native, and 125TB and 2,750MB/s with compression. LTO-11 (up to 96TB native) and -12 (192TB) are also on the roadmap, as well as LT0-11 and -12, if IBM decides to pursue in this tape technology in a declinig market. But no date is revealed for next steps..

Two completely different tape technologies exist and are applied on IBM TS 11xx and Oracle T10000 libraries.

Note: If you receive our today’s newsletter, you will see on the top of the page a banner of the LTO Consortium advertizing on LTO Ultrium 8, not yet LTO Ultrium 9.

On today’s StorageNewsletter.com web site, you can read all the latest announcements on LTO-9.

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